Owners think outside the box for their French homes

Falling in love with an enormous house is easily done. Doing it up is harder, and once finished and/or the children have flown the coop, the challenge is deciding how to use it.

Some sell up and downsize, others run a B&B – but Connexion readers have fresh solutions: hiring the house to event companies, setting up a residential language course or as a stop-off for horses being transported. 

George and Rebecca Connor did not just buy a large house, they bought the entire hamlet of La Grande Garde, Pageas, (Haute-Vienne), complete with a spacious farmhouse, a massive complex of barns and outhouses, several cottages, communal bread oven, and 62 acres of rolling farmland.

Putting a new roof on this barn is just one of the jobs that George and Rebecca have on their to-do list at their horse hotel

“Works are ongoing but our ‘horse hotel’ is shaping up nicely,” says George. “We are located exactly where a tachograph says a lorry transporting horses has to stop and unload.”

It is an ideal location for an overnight stop on the journey to and from Spain and either the UK or Holland.

“We love horses,” says Rebecca, and the photos on their office wall say it all. In the UK they competed at county level, appearing at both the Royal International Horse Show and the Horse of the Year Show and they have an impressive collection of cups and prizes on their walls. They still have five horses, although they retired from competition when they left Lancashire in 2014 to move to France.

“As well as the competing, we ran a pet hotel for years – and a string of pet shops,” says Rebecca. “We could accommodate any animal, horses, dogs, ...

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